Books for Keeps blog

Book Drive Month Participants!

Books for Keeps’ first-ever “Book Drive Month” started Friday all around the Athens area, and lasts through the end of March. Groups large and small, from book clubs to businesses, are holding book drives to benefit Athens youth. It’s not too late to add your name to the list! Holding a book drive is as simple as posting a message on Facebook (or sending an email) and sitting out a collection box. Contact for details and assistance in getting started. Book Drive Month Participants:(Participants with addresses listed are serving as drop-off locations for others to donate books.)Allergy Partners of Athens 3320 Old Jefferson Road Alpha Chi OmegaAlpha Delta PiAlpha Kappa AlphaAthens First Bank & Trust   310 Alps Road   124 East Hancock   2365 Prince Avenue   4000 Atlanta Hwy Athens Academy Athens Area Humane SocietyAvid Bookshop Junior League of AthensAthens Mothers Center Book ClubBeta ClubCenter for Family ResearchDelta ZetaFoodbuy, LLC Gaines Elementary SchoolGamma Phi BetaHodgson’s Place NeighborhoodHouse Electric 1045 Baxter Street Jefferson High School Kappa Alpha ThetaKeep Athens Beautiful Kiwanis ClubMedical Rehabilitation Systems 104 Moores Grove Rd Winterville Model Citizen Salon 497 Prince Ave. New & Notable Book ClubNew Haven BaptistNew Prospect Elementary School (Alpharetta)North Oconee High School Oconee Presbyterian ChurchOconee Street United Methodist ChurchOmni Club Both Athens locations Paperback Fiction Book ClubSigma Delta TauTrinity LutheranTotal Training Center Unitarian Universalist FellowshipYoung Readers’ Book ClubWe thank these groups, clubs and businesses for assisting our efforts to level the playing field where access to books is concerned. Children who read during the summer do better in school and stay in school longer.  Who knew your old books could do so much?

By |March 7th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Book Drive Month Participants!|

Class Sponsor: 5 Points Yoga

We are excited to announce another fantastic sponsor helping us fight summer slide by providing books for an entire class of students. Thank you 5 Points Yoga for your support!5 Points Yoga is where it all comes together: “grace, balance, community – and a lively spirit of fun.” Concerned with caring for body and mind, 5 Points Yoga is the ideal place for building physical strength while also feeding your soul. When asked to sponsor Books for Keeps, co-owner Debi Garrett was excited to get involved. An avid reader, she is “all for more kids reading!” She tells the story of her second grade teacher writing on her report card “Debra reads too much.” Is that really possible?I am a huge fan of 5 Points Yoga and hope that you will check it out. It is the place where I find peace, balance, and a killer workout. Don’t just take my word for it, 5 Points Yoga was voted Athens’ Favorite Yoga Studio 2012!Vicky WilkinsBoard President5 Points Yoga1687 S. Lumpkin St.Athens,

By |March 5th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Class Sponsor: 5 Points Yoga|

Class Sponsor: Model Citizen Salon

Doing great hair – while doing good – should be the motto of Model Citizen Salon! The talented, hip, and community-spirited owners, Shayne Jordan McBride and Elizabeth Elliot O’ Shaughnessy, have a vision of a modern neighborhood beauty shop that serves the Athens community in multiple ways. Books for Keeps has benefited from this vision. We are very excited to announce Model Citizen Salon as a class sponsor! Their generous sponsorship will provide 12 books to every student in one Athens elementary school class this May.Owner Shayne McBride is no stranger to Books for Keeps; she was one of the first people in Athens to discover BFK and has been a supporter ever since. Shayne was instrumental in getting the word out in the early days. In fact, it was over a haircut by Shayne that I learned of BFK and, as they say, the rest is history.Make sure you check out the Model Citizen Salon online, or better yet, stop by their cool location at 497 Prince Avenue. I can tell you first hand that they are geniuses with unruly hair (mine), and that BFK volunteers and board members are regulars there, as is our founder Melaney.We thank Shayne and Elizabeth for their support! Vicky WilkinsBoard President

By |March 3rd, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Class Sponsor: Model Citizen Salon|

March 2013 is BFK Book Drive Month

One of our board members, Merryn Walker, has taken on a daunting but impressive goal: 50 book drives in the month of March!  Can you imagine?I hope you’ll join our effort.  Large or small, you can hold a book drive anywhere. The obvious places that come to mind: office, school, church, neighborhood.  But our supporters have gotten creative, and held book drives at birthday parties, tennis matches, even movie premieres! It’s as simple as sitting out a box or bin, then sending an email or Facebook post.  We’ll provide the verbiage for an email or Facebook post, and a printable sign you can attach to a box or bin. It’s so easy, and it’s quite fun!We accept books of any kind for children and adults, but we prefer not to receive encyclopedias or old textbooks.  We use everything that we can for our youth programs, and sell what we can’t use at our book sale fundraiser.  You’d be surprised at the uses we can find for your used books!  Many adult books are suitable for middle and high school students, and high school students even request cookbooks.  We give maternity books to pregnant teens. We give baby books to pre-K students.  And of course we give high-interest books in good condition to children of every age from K-12.Please consider where/with whom you might hold a book drive this March. It’ll help us get an early start on the 30,000 books we’ll need next year.  Contact Merryn at merrynwalker (at)

By |December 26th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on March 2013 is BFK Book Drive Month|

Could you survive a summer with nothing to read?

Some of the children we’re hoping to serve this May have never owned a single book. Some have parents who can’t/won’t/don’t take them to the library over the summer. Try to imagine spending an entire summer with nothing to read. Then help us give them books… for keeps. Here’s how.

By |December 24th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Could you survive a summer with nothing to read?|

Help us find the last 54 sponsors.

Your Facebook and Twitter pages are the best tools we have for reaching people. Will you use yours – TODAY – to help us find sponsors for the last 54 children?The May distributions are still 5 months away, but we need to have our books in-hand by January 15th, to allow us to get them sorted, boxed, and put away before Fire & Flavor (our warehouse provider) needs us out of the way for their busy season.  This means we need the funds by December 31st.  54 children. 9 days. Please join in our effort; it’s a small act that makes an exponentially larger impact to our program. Here’s a message you can use:Facebook: Give the gift of reading to a child in need. Books for Keeps needs sponsors for 54 more children. $25 will provide 12 books plus a tote bag for 1 child. $480 sponsors an entire class. Twitter:Give the gift of reading to a child in need. $25 provides 12 books for 1 child who might not own a single book. And let’s face it. January 1, we have to immediately start looking for sponsors for our 2014 program.  Help us ring in new year with the guarantee of 12 books each for all 2,100 children this May.  

By |December 23rd, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Help us find the last 54 sponsors.|

Give the Gift of Reading to a Child in Need

Christmas comes in May to children from low-income families in Athens. That’s when Books for Keeps gives 12 books to every child attending a Clarke County elementary school where 90% or more of students qualify for free/reduced-price lunch. For May of 2013, this means 5 schools with 2,100 students.The challenge: 54 students still need sponsors. Will you give the gift of reading this holiday season? $25 provides 12 books plus a tote bag to one student. $480 sponsors an entire class. Here’s how.Why 12 books? We’re working to end summer slide in Athens, and we’ve modeled our program after the methods used in a study that found a solution – and keeps kids reading all summer long.Books for Keeps Needs Your HelpShare Our Story: Facebook, email and Twitter are easy, powerful ways you can help us with a simple mouse-click.Sponsor a Child$25 provides 12 books for 1 child (a full summer of reading!), plus a tote bag to carry the books. Make it a gift and we’ll email you a certificate you can wrap and put under the tree.  Sponsor a Class and Send Us Your StoryWhether it’s your business, your book club, a church group or tennis team – sponsor a class, send us some pictures, and we’ll tell your story on our blog. $480 will provide 12 books per child to an entire class of students, and your story will inspire others. Holiday GiftsMake a donation of any amount in someone’s name for the holidays, and we’ll email you a gift certificate you can print and present as your gift.Memorial GiftsMake a donation of any amount in memory of a loved one, and we’ll send a letter to the family or recipient of [...]

By |December 22nd, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Give the Gift of Reading to a Child in Need|

12 days. 89 children. Can we do it?

We are so close.  We have books (or funds to purchase books) for 2,011 students for this May.  12 books per child, plus a tote bag!  We have 89 students left needing sponsors, and 12 days left to find those sponsors. Will we abandon these last 89 children if we don’t find sponsors? No way.  But it will throw a wrench in our plans, for sure. And my husband quickly vetoed the idea of raiding my 401(k).  If you have $2,225 burning a hole in your pocket, you can wrap this program up right now! Assuming you don’t… how about $25 to sponsor a child? Or $480 to sponsor a class? Here are details about how you can help. Please share with your friends, family, colleagues… well, everybody. Books for Keeps has done the impossible before.  6 weeks ago, we needed sponsors for 845 children; today we’re down to 89. Stay tuned. (And tell somebody. )

By |December 19th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on 12 days. 89 children. Can we do it?|

Good News!

Just one short month ago I posted our call for help.  We had enough books on hand for 1,255 of our 2,100 students and needed sponsors for the remaining 845 children.  In the past month, sponsors have stepped up for 641 more students, leaving us with only 204 more sponsors to find! With all the bad news we see on television, this near-miraculous surge of generosity reminds me of something that’s so easy to forget:  there are a lot of really good, generous people out there!BUT……..I can’t stop to celebrate until we find sponsors for these last 204 children.  $25 will provide 12 books + a tote bag for 1 child. $480 will sponsor an entire class!We are $5,100 away from having every book we need, to provide 12 books to every K-5 student attending a Clarke County elementary school where 90% or more of students qualify for free/reduced-price lunch.  Can you help us get there?Click “Donate Now” and sponsor a child  Pull a group together and sponsor a class (book clubs, tennis teams, church groups…)Give BFK gift certificates this holiday seasonPost our program on your Facebook pageTweet about usWhen I started Books for Keeps 4 years ago, it was an effort to help 1 little girl who loved to read but had no books at home. You have the opportunity to do the same today.  Instead of wondering “Why doesn’t somebody DO something about this problem?”, say “I am somebody who WILL do something about this problem”.But be warned, it can change your life.  Sure changed mine. –Melaney Smith

By |December 17th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Good News!|

Volunteers Needed: Dec. 8-9th

 Help us prepare books for distribution to Pre-K students (just in time for Christmas), and inspect and sort books for our May Stop Summer Slide! program.  Adults only, please.Wear comfortable shoes and warehouse appropriate clothing. We hope to see you there! To sign up for a shift:Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot:   2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot)    3. Sign up! Choose your spots – VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Note: VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use youremail address, please contact Melaney and we’ll sign you up manually.

By |December 4th, 2012|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Volunteers Needed: Dec. 8-9th|